SCOTUS 2012 — How Our National “Circuit Breakers” Have Failed Us

After reading John Roberts’ opinion in the PPACA (Obamacare) decision and the Conservative pundits’ articles thanking him for the wakeup call, I decided to hold a meeting with my family and make the following announcement:

It’s up to us as individuals to make sure that we use electricity responsibly in this house.  The whole house could burn down if we aren’t careful.  Our circuit breakers are no substitute for diligence.

Therefore – 

As a wake-up call, I am going to do our family a “favor” by removing the circuit breakers from our electrical panel, wiring the circuits straight through without any protection at all.  Now it’s up to us alone to be diligent.

Absurd?  You bet it is.  But that’s the metaphor I offer to illustrate the absurdity of the message that Chief Justice Roberts sent us on June 28.

Our Constitution was created by the Founders to limit the power of government over its citizenry.  The SCOTUS Justices were intended to be our national “circuit breakers” for the US Constitution. In the event that Congress were to run amok with its taxing power, even with most of its citizenry seduced or asleep, the black-letter law of the Constitution was to be there to protect us, and the Justices were to make the call when Congress went too far.

Well, the SCOTUS circuit breakers failed to trip as they should have on the PPACA decision.  And it’s not Justice Roberts’ fault alone, although under the “doctrine of last clear chance,” he is certainly responsible.  Dusty, tired, and corrupted by 100 years of leftist / progressive / liberal / redistributionist / collectivist / neo-Marxist infestations, those old numbed SCOTUS circuit breakers failed to provide the intended protection.

Worst of all, by failing on this most critical case, SCOTUS has set the precedent that they will almost surely fail again when Big Government next tries to control our lives and freedoms through taxation.  And thanks to PPACA, that day is right around the corner.

Limiting federal powers of taxation was one of the prime motivators of the Founders in drafting the Constitution itself. Indeed, “Taxation without representation is tyranny!” was the battle cry of the American revolution.  Now, SCOTUS has aided and abetted taxation by misrepresentation.  What a letdown.

Thomas Sowell, as usual, put it well when, on July 4 of all days, he wrote:

Betrayal is hard to take, whether in our personal lives or in the political life of the nation. Yet there are people in Washington — too often, Republicans — who start living in the Beltway atmosphere, and start forgetting those hundreds of millions of Americans beyond the Beltway who trusted them to do right by them, to use their wisdom instead of their cleverness.

How far do you bend over backwards to avoid the obvious, that ObamaCare was an unprecedented extension of federal power over the lives of 300 million Americans today and of generations yet unborn?

These are the people that Chief Justice Roberts betrayed when he declared constitutional something that is nowhere authorized in the Constitution of the United States.

One of the Chief Justice’s admirers said that when others are playing checkers, he is playing chess. How much consolation that will be as a footnote to the story of the decline of individual freedom in America, and the wrecking of the best medical care in the world, is another story.

There are many speculations as to why Chief Justice Roberts did what he did, some attributing noble and far-sighted reasons, and others attributing petty and short-sighted reasons, including personal vanity. But all of that is ultimately irrelevant.

What he did was betray his oath to be faithful to the Constitution of the United States.

Who he betrayed were the hundreds of millions of Americans — past, present and future — whole generations in the past who have fought and died for a freedom that he has put in jeopardy, in a moment of intellectual inspiration and moral forgetfulness, 300 million Americans today whose lives are to be regimented by Washington bureaucrats, and generations yet unborn who may never know the individual freedoms that their ancestors took for granted.

Some claim that Chief Justice Roberts did what he did to save the Supreme Court as an institution from the wrath — and retaliation — of those in Congress who have been railing against Justices who invalidate the laws they have passed. Many in the media and in academia have joined the shrill chorus of those who claim that the Supreme Court does not show proper “deference” to the legislative branch of government.

But what does the Bill of Rights seek to protect the ordinary citizen from? The government! To defer to those who expand government power beyond its constitutional limits is to betray those whose freedom depends on the Bill of Rights.

Amen, Dr. Sowell, amen.

Should we give up?  Of course not.  Has the past week been enough time to rationalize and agonize over Roberts’ June 28 betrayal?  I think so.  I’ve had enough.  Dr. Sowell’s article tied a ribbon on it for me.

The next step for Conservatives is to pound away at that Obamacare bill, making it clear to We-the-People how deeply in debt we already are, how close we are to the edge of Obama’s seductive cliff (see cartoon at right), and how a Congress run amok with no SCOTUS circuit-breaker protection is going to set our house ablaze in debt just before we sail off that cliff into darkness.

Forget the differences among mandatespenalties, and taxes, America’s voters need to understand what Obama’s regime will do to them and their families through the freedom-robbing leverage of taxation, over-spending, and over-borrowing.  With SCOTUS now having abdicated, getting this message out to all Americans is the best November election strategy to win back a positive future for our republic, our children, and our grandchildren.

Victory: Court Decision on Arizona’s Controversial Immigration Law SB 1070

By Former State Senator Karen Johnson

Many people are unhappy about the June 25th Court decision on Arizona’s controversial immigration law (SB1070) and the fact that the Court struck down three out of the four provisions of the bill that had been challenged. Now, if this were a game of tennis or baseball, losing three out of four would be a near defeat. But the ruling on SB1070 is not about sports, and a mere count of the provisions the court affirmed or struck down is not a measure of the success or failure of SB1070. The court’s ruling was, in fact, a great victory. There is no cause for mourning over SB1070.

First, it must be understood that SB1070 was a long, complex piece of legislation that ran for 19 pages and involved 10 sections of statute, some of which had multiple provisions in subsections. Some very important sections of SB1070 were never challenged, such as the sections on human smuggling and employee sanctions. Attempts were made early on to challenge Section 2 (a prohibition against “sanctuary cities”) and Section 5(a) (streetside solicitation by day workers). But these attempts to thwart SB1070 were fended off in early court proceedings before the suit arrived at the Supreme Court. So, of the 10 sections to the bill, a full six of them, many with multiple provisions, were either in effect from the start or had been exonerated by the time the challenge arrived at the doorsteps of the Supreme Court. That means that 60 percent of SB1070 had already been cleared before June 25. What remained for review by the Supreme Court were all of Sections 3 and 6, and a single piece each of Sections 2 and 5. Section 2(b) was upheld in the June 25th ruling, so comes off the table (70 percent of SB1070′s 10 sections now prevailing.). That leaves three items.

Sections 3 and 6 each address a single provision of law, and each were struck down by the Court. But Section 3 isn’t absolutely required in order for the states to arrest and detain illegal immigrants; it was just an additional tool. Nice to have, but not a key provision of SB1070. Section 6 was somewhat redundant because states already have authority for that provision and can work around the court’s decision. So, losing Sections 3 and 6 is not a fatal blow to SB1070.

Lastly, Section 5 had seven different provisions in it, but only one was challenged. The Court struck it down, so a mere one-seventh of Section 5 was invalidated by the June 25th ruling, while the remaining six-sevenths stood. So, in the end, three small provisions that were not terribly crucial were struck down by the court. In contrast, the most significant provision of SB1070, the one which allows police officers making traffic stops to check for residency status, was upheld. This provision was the heart of SB1070. It was by far the most important part of the bill, the most important item under judicial review, and the one to which the Justices gave the most attention during oral arguments. And that section was upheld unanimously by all eight Justices.

Despite SB1070′s near perfect score after two years of attacks by the Left, and despite the puny success of the opponents who were so enraged about the passage of the bill, the media blathered incoherently the day of the decision about how the court “gutted” the bill and overturned nearly all of it. It’s hard to know whether such trash reporting merely reflects the usual incompetence of the mainstream media or is an overt attempt to spin the story to cover up a very public defeat of the radical Left. The anti-American Hispanic groups, the Chamber of Commerce, and various other open borders advocates spent two years and a lot of ink trying to kill SB1070 without success. Considering that the lawsuit against SB1070 was brought by the current administration in Washington, then the administration shares with its Leftist friends the sting of defeat in the face of the court’s ruling. Our current leaders forsook the Constitution long ago. The court ruling on SB1070 is a stern reminder to them that even kings (and presidents) are not above the rule of law.

Among the most satisfying aspects of the June 25th ruling are the comments and support offered in the dissenting opinion of Justice Scalia. Scalia voted to uphold all four provisions of SB1070 that were under review, and he expresses an articulate defense of the law in his dissent. “Scalia eviscerates Kennedy’s explanation” for the majority, said Arizona Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs, an attorney who helped to pass SB1070 in 2010 and reviewed the opinion as soon as it appeared on the Court’s website. Basically, reports Biggs, Scalia says that Kennedy’s legal logic was faulty, and that Justice Kennedy misunderstood aspects ofArizona law, a failure which colored his opinion.

While Scalia’s dissent is a minority opinion, it will likely be embraced by patriots because it gives hope to those who love our country and want to protect it from the malicious efforts of those who consistently tear away at the Constitution. Here are a few of Scalia’s comments in his dissent:

“There is no federal law prohibiting the States’ sovereign power to exclude [illegal aliens].”[1]

“… the Federal Government must live with the inconvenient fact that it is a Union of independent States, who have their own sovereign powers.”[2]

“… the States have the right to protect their borders against foreign nationals, just as they have the right to execute foreign nationals for murder.”[3]

“Arizona is entitled to have ‘its own immigration policy’ ­ including a more rigorous enforcement policy ­ so so long as that does not conflict with federal law.”[4]

“… there is no reason Arizona cannot make it a state crime for … any illegal alien … to remain in Arizona.”[5]

“In my view, the State can go further … and punish them for their unlawful entry and presence in Arizona.”[6]

“The Government complains that state officials might not heed ‘federal priorities’. Indeed they might not, particularly if those priorities include willful blindness or deliberate inattention to the presence of removable aliens in Arizona.”[7]

“The State has the sovereign power to protect its borders more rigorously if it wishes ….”[8]

“It is beyond question that a State may make a violation of federal law a violation of state law as well.”[9]

Scalia is scathing in his denunciation of the majority opinion:

“But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of [federal law] that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind.”[10]

“What I do fear ­ and what Arizona and the States that suppport it fear ­ is that ‘federal policies’ of non-enfforcement will leave the States helpless before those evil effects of illegal immigration that the Court’s opinion dutifully recites in its prologue but leaves unremedied in its disposition.”[11]

Scalia’s scorn for the majority ruling condenses itself into a question about the Constitutional Convention in 1787: “Would the States conceivably have entered into the Union if the Constitution itself contained the Court’s holding?”[12]

His answer: “The delegates to the Grand Convention would have rushed to the exits.”[13]

Scalia exposes the main obstacle the states face in their struggle to contain illegal immigration: “A Federal Government that does not want to enforce the immigration laws as written, and leaves the States’ borders unprotected against immigrants whom those laws would exclude.”[14]

And he raises the question that needs to be faced by everyone who cares about our freedom:. “Are the sovereign States at the mercy of the Federal Executive’s refusal to enforce the Nation’s immigration laws?”[15]

The answer to that question, of course, is no. Our nation was built on the concept of “popular sovereignty,” meaning that power rests in individuals, not government. We confer certain limited powers on government for the purpose of maintaining an orderly society, not for the purpose of stealing our freedom. The Founders recognized the dangers of an all-powerful, overbearing federal government. They did not leave the states or individual citizens at the mercy of the Executive Branch.

But what is the remedy, then, for a government that refuses to obey the laws and the Constitution and does everything it can to thwart state efforts to do so? Senator Biggs calls the current leaders in Washington ”a rogue administration. They are acting outside the scope of their Constitutional authority.”

In times past, the remedy for rogue government was almost always, of necessity, an overthrow. But in a country like ours, that honors the rule of law, revolution isn’t the first option. The answer is (what else?): the rule of law! Even the most clever despot cannot outwit the rule of law. It is probably not possible to overstress the importance of this principle. Dallin H. Oaks, former Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, has said that, “All the blessings enjoyed under the United States Constitution are dependent upon the rule of law …. The rule of law is the basis of liberty.”[16] If that is the case, and I believe it is, then the remedy for a lawless government is to pursue the rule of law vigorously. The answer lies in the state legislatures, which are, after all, supposed to be stronger than the federal government anyway. SB1070 is a state assertion of the rule of law. Many other options exist, such as nullification and rejection of the federal money that makes the states slaves to federal mandates. Are we at the mercy of the Federal Government? Not on your life. Not unless the state legislatures choose to make us so.

The Supreme Court ruling on SB1070 was a step toward reestablishing respect for the rule of law. Our current Chief Executive (who has no respect whatsoever for the rule of law) has already announced that he will oppose efforts by Arizona to implement the provisions of SB1070 and will instruct ICE officials to refuse to cooperate with local law enforcement officers who apprehend illegal aliens. Arizona will need to stand up to such outrageous lawlessness on the part of the federal government.

The commander in chief is setting up a power struggle between the states and Washington, a national staring contest, so to speak, a giant game of Chicken. Whoever blinks first loses. But liberty never backs down. Freedom never loses in the long run. The pages of history are filled with tales of tyrants who went too far.[17] Tyrants always lose. Scalia closes his dissent with a blunt stand on behalf of state sovereignty that should give all states the courage to assert themselves and not back down to the federal government:

“Arizona bears the brunt of the country’s illegal immigration problem. Its citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy. Federal officials have been unable to remedy the problem, and indeed have recently shown that they are unwilling to do so. Thousands of Arizona’s estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants—including not just children but men and women under 30 ”are now assured immunity from enforcement, and will be able to compete openly with Arizona citizens for employment. Arizona has moved to protect its sovereignty—not in contradiction of federal law, but in completee compliance with it. The laws under challenge here do not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively. If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State. I dissent.”[18]

Hurray for Justice Scalia! Hurray for the Constitution! Hurray for SB1070!

(c) 2012 Karen Johnson - All Rights Reserved

Footnotes:

1. Supreme Court decision on SB1070. Arizona et al v. United States, No. 11-182., Scalia Dissent, p. 7. [Link]
2. Ibid., p. 8. [Link]
3. Ibid., p. 8. [Link]
4. Ibid., p. 12. [Link]
5. Ibid., p. 12. [Link]
6. Ibid., p. 13. [Link]
7. Ibid., p. 13. [Link]
8. Ibid., p. 13. [Link]
9. Ibid., p. 14. [Link]
10. Ibid., p. 21. [Link]
11. Ibid., p. 16. [Link]
12. Ibid., p. 21. [Link]
13. Ibid., p. 22. [Link]
14. Ibid., p. 21 [Link]
15. Ibid., p. 21. [Link]
16. Dallin H. Oaks, former Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, “The Divinely Inspired Constitution,” Ensign, February, 1992.
17. See “The Utah Compact and the Rule of Law,” by Karen Johnson, Sept. 14, 2011.
18. Supreme Court decision on SB1070. Arizona et al v. United States, No. 11-182., Scalia Dissent, p. 22.

Leah Campos Schandlbauer, CD09 Candidate, on Today’s Healthcare Ruling

PHOENIX — Leah Campos Schandlbauer, Republican candidate for Arizona’s 9th Congressional District today released the following statement about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
“Five decades of inside-the-beltway healthcare planning have been unable to stop the runaway costs that continue to plague families and bankrupt the federal government.  Today’s Supreme Court ruling further bureacratizes our healthcare system while foisting a huge tax increase on the American people, despite President Obama’s promises to the contrary.

“Politicians who favor government control of healthcare say current problems reflect a failure of the market, but we haven’t had a truly free market for insurance and care in more than half a century. It’s impossible to effectively serve the diverse healthcare needs of more than 300 million Americans with a Washington-centric plan. I am glad that the Supreme Court placed a limit on the federal government’s meddling in healthcare via the commerce clause, but sad to see Obamacare stand under a dubious tax rationale.  It will now be up to Congress to repeal the law. The only way to truly decrease healthcare costs is by the efficiency and discipline imposed by a truly free market. I will work toward re-establish the healthcare market with the following steps:

1. Repeal Obamacare
2. Equalize the tax treatment of insurance plans purchased by individuals and businesses
3. Allow for the purchase of insurance plans across state lines
4. Limit Medicare’s dominance of the healthcare sector by giving individuals under the age of 55 the option to use their Medicare funds to purchase insurance from commercial providers
“The first step to re-establishing a genuine marketplace for health services is to stop federal meddling in healthcare.”
# # #
About Leah:
For more than 10 years, Leah Campos Schandlbauer served worldwide as an operations officer for the CIA’s National Clandestine Service. A lifelong conservative and strong believer in the principles of economic liberty and limited government, Leah decided to pursue a different type of public service when she chose to run for Congress in Arizona’s newly-created 9th District. Leah is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in political science. She also attended Rhodes Junior High School in Mesa and Chandler’s Seton Catholic High School, where she ran track and played basketball. Leah and her husband, Alfred, a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State, have four children. 

For more information, visit: www.leahforcongress.com.

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Landmark Lawsuit Into Second Day of Oral Arguments

Arizona state director of named plaintiff says he’s confident Supreme Court will rule in NFIB’s favor.

PHOENIX, Ariz., March 27, 2012 — Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, the named plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit, NFIB v. Sebelius, said today he’s confident the U.S. Supreme Court will agree with and rule in favor of NFIB, Arizona and 25 other states challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare.

“When we filed this lawsuit two years ago, some people called it frivolous, and there are plenty of people today who claim it’s doomed to fail, but we’re convinced the Supreme Court will agree, just as lower courts have, that the individual mandate requiring everyone to buy health insurance is unconstitutional,” Quinlan said.

“The issue here is whether Congress can force individuals to buy health insurance,” he said. “Under the health-care law, most people will be required to buy health insurance starting in 2014. If they don’t, they’ll have to pay a penalty.”

In what some media are calling the most significant court case since Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the U.S. Supreme court yesterday heard the first of three days of oral arguments in NFIB v. Sebelius. Ordinarily, the court allots only one hour for oral arguments, but it’s set aside six hours over the three days to hear the case brought by NFIB, Arizona and 25 other states.

“Congress has no authority to make people buy anything,” Quinlan said. “They can’t force people to buy health insurance the same as they can’t force people to floss their teeth or eat their peas. Despite heroic efforts to obscure this fact, Congress clearly overreached by imposing this health-care law. It’s difficult to think of another case where the federal government’s intrusion into people’s lives has been so blatant and egregious.”

# # #

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

Russell Pearce: Major Victory for Arizona and the American Worker

The U.S. Supreme Court has handed our great state a significant victory. It upheld our 2007 law penalizing businesses for knowingly hiring workers who are here illegally. No longer will companies be able to ignore the rule of law and hire illegal aliens, shutting out legal Arizona workers. With the highest unemployment in a generation, we must do all we can to get Arizona back to work, and this ruling means those here legally will not have to compete with the illegal crowd. That is great news.

In 2007, I sponsored HB 2779, the “Fair and Legal Employment Act”, because I knew something needed to be done to stop the profits-over-patriotism crowd. These companies ignored the law and hired illegals, because it was cheap labor, but certainly not cheap to the Arizona taxpayer. In the cost of $2.6 billion to educate, medicate and incarcerate illegal aliens. Now, with this Supreme Court ruling, the state has the clear right to require employers to verify work eligibility status of all new employees. The E-verify system puts the responsibility for verifying documents on the government, with 99.7% accuracy.

Now that our efforts have proven to not only be the right thing to do but to also be politically popular, you are seeing people who have fought us looking to claim credit. Then-Gov. Napolitano did sign HB 2779, but that’s not the whole story. She opposed this bill and just about every effort we made to crack down on illegal immigration, but the writing was on the wall. We were collecting thousands of signatures to put a tougher measure on the ballot. Napolitano had no choice but to sign this bill, to avoid that tougher law. All you have to do is look at her efforts as Secretary of Homeland Security to know that she believes in non-enforcement of our immigration laws.

The message is now clear to any business that is still considering hiring illegals. If you do so, you will face sanctions, and you could lose your license to operate. This is indeed a “death penalty” for those businesses that choose to hire those here illegally. Fewer illegals means more job openings for citizens looking for work. We are hoping to bring down the “help wanted” sign in our state.

 

Illegal aliens are getting the message that they are not welcome in Arizona. Tens of thousands of illegals have left the state since we began our efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. It is working, and our state’s taxpayers are paying less for emergency care at our hospitals and paying less for education at our schools. Our efforts are making a difference, and we will keep up the fight, with attrition by enforcement.

So what does this new ruling mean for the fate of SB 1070? I’d say it looks good. In his majority ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the employer sanctions law “falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the states.” That is at the heart of the fight over SB 1070, and Justice Roberts is making it clear a state has the right, and in fact the duty, to uphold and enforce federal laws. It is becoming pretty clear that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold SB 1070.

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Speaker Tobin Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Upholding Arizona’s Employer Sanctions Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2011
CONTACT: Paul Boyer

The following statement is attributed to Speaker Andy Tobin (R-District 1):

“To our critics who say Arizona has no role in immigration related issues, the Supreme Court has said otherwise. The Obama Administration was one of those critics and after four years of lawsuits and scare tactics, I’m glad to see we finally came out on top on this one. We’re grateful that we can now give Arizonans confidence that we are continuing to implement the rule of law given that President Obama is more interested in mocking those of us who want our border secured than protecting American citizens.”

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Arizona Senate: U.S. Supreme Court Supports Arizona Law on Illegal Immigration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2011
CONTACT: Mike Philipsen

Court Backs “Fair and Legal Employment Act”

(Phoenix, State Capitol) —The U.S. Supreme Court this morning upheld an Arizona law that penalizes companies for knowingly hiring illegal aliens and requires firms to use the E-verify system.

The law came out of HB 2779, the Fair and Legal Employment Act, sponsored in 2007 by then-Rep. Russell Pearce, now Senate President.

“Arizona was the first state in the country to enact legislation to prevent illegal aliens from working. Now, the highest court in the land has given its legal authority to this law. Arizonans should be proud,” says Pres. Pearce.

Then-Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the bill into law, but that was only because of the threat of a tougher initiative going to the ballot. “Make no mistake, Gov. Napolitano did NOT support this legislation, and serving in the Obama administration, she has been fighting us all along the way. Now that a huge majority of Arizonans are behind this, she is trying to rewrite history, and suggest she is a strong supporter. We know the truth,” says Pres. Pearce.

In his ruling for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said the employer sanctions law “falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the states.”

“That is an important statement. That sends a pretty clear signal to me that we are headed for U.S. Supreme Court support for SB 1070, as well,” says Pearce. “This is a huge victory for America and the American worker. It is a defeat for the open-borders, profits-over-patriotism crowd. It is a death penalty for employers who continue to hire illegals and displace American workers.”

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